Monday, October 12, 2015

What Matters Most

I finished up my maternity leave about two months ago, and went back to work.  I was having a really rough time with it, and so I wrote myself a little letter.  I'm reading it again, today, to remind myself that being a stay-at-home mom isn't the only way I can be a GOOD mom.  If life isn't exactly how you planned, and "perfect" just doesn't seem to be working out, I highly suggest sitting down and writing out the important outcomes you want and you may realize that they can still be achieved (and possibly already are).



Dear Nicole,

I know you are about to go back to work and your maternity leave is ending.  I know this is breaking your heart, because you so desperately want to be home with your children and serving your family from home.  I know that it is no fun to have to go back to work. 

I want you to remember that you don't have to stay at home to bless your family.  By going back to work, you can be a blessing in so many ways.  The most obvious way is financially.  This is a blessing to your husband as he transitions to a new career.  You are taking some pressure off of him to be the sole provider while he is starting out.  You are helping your whole family by easing the stress of making ends meet.

You going to work also allows your chilren to grow in their relationships with other caregivers, namely, their grandparents.  This is quite a blessing for them to have a relationship with their grandparents. 

You are blessing yourself by spending time doing work you enjoy and are good at.  And, in turn, this blesses your home by giving you a "break" from your home, in order to enjoy it well while you are there.

And while, of course, I hope you are soon able to stay home with your children, please know that you are not wasting away their childhoods by having to work.  You are still their mom and can still enrich their lives in so many ways.

Remember your list of "What Matters Most."  Each of these things can still be attained whether you are working or staying home.  So when you are feeling discouraged because you feel like the important things are being overlooked, remember what the important things are.  Remember your list:

What Matters Most
  • My children are loved
  • My children are healthy
  • My children are confident
  • Our home is joyful
  • We seek God
  • We love others
  • Our basic needs are met
  • We have quality time with each other and with those we love

Good luck as you return to work, and try not to be discouraged.

Love,
Nicole


Friday, July 24, 2015

Relationship Reset


3-year-olds are hard.  They are just plain hard.  Add postpartum hormones and a new baby...Well that's just a disaster.  And the truth is, things have been strained.  There have been raised tempers, lost patience, yelling, time outs and the gamut.  And many days, I'm left with the feeling of just being a huge failure as a mom.

But then, we were presented with this lovely day.  We spent the morning with friends at the park (activities are paramount for survival).  I committed to no TV during nap time, giving me time to regroup and rejuvenate.  And the baby chose to sleep for a good long while after the 3-year-old woke.

And then, he told me he wanted to sit in my lap while we watched Octonauts.  This is a scarcity lately, as it's hard to hold a toddler in your lap while rocking an infant.  So, with the baby still peacefully sleeping, I sat him in my lap.  And instead of "multitasking" on my phone like I normally would (because really, how many times does one REALLY need to watch an animal in scuba gear save sea creatures?), I put my phone away.  I soaked in his sweetness.  I wrapped my arms around his little body.  I breathed in his scent.  And even though he smelled slightly like a wet dog (as 3-year-olds often do), I still just basked in the moment.

And then he said, "I don't wanna ever go away."  And I didn't want him to either.  And we watched those scuba diving animals save sea creature after sea creature and soaked each other in, resetting our relationship and giving us a chance to start again.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Discovering Age

As I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, I noticed the unthinkable.

I've been dreading the big 3-0 for some time now.  Growing "old" was just not something I ever intended to do.  I was going to be forever young at heart.  Full of energy and swarming with children that were happy, healthy, well rounded, beautiful and we'd spend our days singing songs, learning about the world, and playing in the crisp sunshiney air of paradise.  My husband would come home to a perfectly clean home (a large one with a beautifully manicured yard) and he would happily tickle the children on the floor until I graced the table with my 5 course meal.  30 was old, and for sure, by then, I'd have it all figured out and life would be perfect.

The thing about life is that it isn't perfect.  So as 30 approaches, I am faced with unrealized dreams.  Yes, I have a loving husband and a happy, healthy, beautiful little boy.  So who am I to complain (I mean seriously, I've got it pretty good)?
http://www.freeimages.com/photo/346868

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blessings for a Working Mother


I dropped my sweet thing off at Nana's and he cried as I left.  It is especially hard on a Wednesday, because that's one of my 2 job days (leave one job to head to an evening shift at my second).  I was frustrated that I had to leave him and posted the following on my Facebook page:

       Say what you will about women's rights and feminism....but when I leave my baby with him
       crying "Mommy!"...it solidifies that Mommies were not meant to be in the workplace.

It was supposed to be an innocent comment expressing my frustration for having to work when I want to be home with my little man.   I should have known better.  The remainder of the day was filled with debate on women's rights, parenting, and people likely frowning at their computers or smart phones wondering why Nicole hates working mothers and thinks they are terrible parents for working to feed their families.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Love and Grief


As a little girl I used to beg my mom for a big brother.  She tried and tried to explain to me that she simply couldn't give birth to a brother who would be older than me.  Of course, she was right.  But, while my mom couldn't give me a big brother, God could.  He brought a wonderful man into our lives, who brought with him not only a big brother, but a little brother, too.


My best friend is grieving a great loss in her life, right now, and her sweet little girl has lost her brother.  As I grieve this loss with my dear friend, I can't help but also grieve the loss of my own brother.  The big brother I wanted so badly, so many years ago.

http://www.photoxpress.com/photos-girl-boy-children-1174826?referrer_id=Xj9qdHIQyb7etVXie4irtPQ9xtZobSzz

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Good Enough For Me

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/428494
Do you ever just feel disgusted with your life?  I'm mean, just totally disgusted?  No matter how many wonderful blessings you have, somehow, you just sorta wanna vomit?  I've been feeling that way lately.  I'm not sure if it's because things are sort of uncertain (as in, I can't see the future and really really wish I could), if it's because I'm jealous of things going on in other people's lives, or if I'm just simply bored.  It's probably a mix of them all.  2014 is here.  Brandon's work is currently unsteady, lots of exciting things are happening to those around me, and I realized that in only 6 short months, I will be 30.  Gross.  And to top it off...I don't feel like I ever went through that point where I was totally cute and my life was totally fun.  Here I am, pinching pennies, living in constant practicality, being a responsible adult, and still have acne.  What's with that anyway?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Tree for the Fridge

I simply love the idea of having children involved in family happenings, and at Christmas, the tree is a big "happening".  Sadly, little ones aren't usually allowed to be extremely involved in that.  I have said too many times this month, "You can look with your eyes, but don't touch with your hands."  I think having a tree for children is a great idea, but while they aren't old enough to put real ornaments on, it should be tailored to their littleness.  You may remember last year when I made A Tiny Tree for Tiny Hands.  I was surprised when I saw this at Target the other day.
 
Guess they thought it was a good idea, too.